Standing: Steve and Vanessa (niece) Blue. In front: Amber May Skutelsky (granddaughter) and Jen Skutelsky (daughter), with Hilda Skutelsky.

Thornhill Manor resident turns 100

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Years of yoga and ‘being of service to others’ is what Hylda Skutelsky, who turned 100 on May 25, attributes to her longevity.

A resident of Rand Aid’s Thornhill Manor for 22 years, Hylda is only the second resident of the retirement village to reach this milestone.

Her birthday celebration was held on June 1, with her daughter Jennifer and granddaughter Amber May having travelled from the USA to join in the festivities. Instead of gifts, Hylda requested donations be made to Hatzola Rescue Medics.

“Hylda has a sharp wit and loves it when friends and family come to visit because, being wheelchair-bound, she does not get out much,” says Jackie Scott, Thornhill Manor’s deputy manager.

Hylda still lives in her own home, surrounded by all she holds dear, with an amazing carer on hand to provide any assistance she may need.

Born and raised in Johannesburg, Hylda’s life did a complete about-face when, 48 years ago, she lost her husband and soon after that, her job, when the company that she worked for as a personal assistant for 31 years went bankrupt.

In an interview on her 90th birthday, she said: “I was devastated after losing my husband and for almost 12 years after I didn’t really live, but merely went through the motions. But then the universe stepped in and I changed career direction.”

Hylda retrained as a therapist and counsellor and spent 21 years as a Hospice counsellor.

In her early 90s, she continued to assist former clients and friends who needed a shoulder to lean on. She also continued to do daily yoga, which was but one of her many passions. The others included bridge, esoterics, reading, meditation and, of course, counselling.

‘Helping others, being kind, and having family ties’ all contribute to a person’s well-being, she believes.

Hylda Skutelsky and daughter Jennifer.